Friday, February 26, 2010

Chindits In Mumbai !!

I am in Mumbai to collect the GR8 Women Achievers Award today evening in ITC Grand Maratha Sheraton. Getting back tomorrow.

Aajtak are the media partners for this event, so watch it on Aajtak, tonight or tomorrow or a repeat on Sony at 9 pm on March 8 (Women's Day). Watch it!!!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Thermal Images : Vayu Shakti-2010

R.I.P:Within A Year, Second Officer From 1 Para Martyred, Was Also From Ghaziabad !!

Too much of a coincidence here. After Major Mohit Sharma from 1 Parachute Regiment (Special Forces) attained martyrdom last July in an operation in Jammu and Kashmir, it is again a 1 Para officer within a year to be martyred and both hail from Ghaziabad.

Captain Devinder Singh Jass, 26, led a team on Feb 23 early morning in Gani mohalla in Sopore (J&K) into a house, where according to intelligence a meeting was taking place between Jaish-e-Mohammad, LeT and HuM.

A grenade was shot from the house along with a volley of shots, killing the young officer along with two men--Imtiaz Ahmed and Selva Kumar.

The officer was not married. Capt Jass will be cremated with full military honours in Delhi's Brar Square on Feb 25 at 1300 hrs. May the departed souls rest in peace.

In Rajya Sabha Today:-

Defence Minister A K Antony replied in Rajya Sabha today:

Lack of basic trainer aircraft in IAF

Subsequent to a fatal accident on July 31, 2009, Air Headquarters decided to grounds its fleet to HPT-32 aircraft till certain modifications were carried out by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited to ensure the safety and airworthiness of the aircraft. To ensure uninterrupted basic flying training, surplus Kiran MK1/1A trainer aircraft are being utilised to impart Stage I and Stage II flying training to trainee pilots. Adequate Kiran MK1/1A aircraft are available to the IAF presently.

Request for Proposal have been floated for procurement of 75 basic trainer aircraft on multi-vendor basis. In addition, 106 basic trainer aircraft will be built by M/s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.

Procurement of artillery guns:

In the light of the names of seven firms figuring in the FIR filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in May 2009 in respect of various supply orders placed by Ordnance Factory Board, procurement / acquisition cases in the pipeline with any of such firms were put on hold until further orders. Later, it was decided that multi-vendor procurement cases, presently held up at various stages of technical evaluation / trials, may be progressed further as per the Defence Procurement Procedure – 2008. However, no tender will be awarded to the companies mentioned in the FIR unless the CBI investigation clears them totally.

Induction of LCA Tejas into IAF:

A contract for procurement of 20 Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) in Initial Operational Clearance configuration was signed with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd on March 31, 2006. These LCA are likely to be inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF) by March 2011.

In addition to the above contract for 20 LCA, a proposal for procurement of an additional 20 LCA in Final Operational Clearance configuration is being progressed. The specifications of the LCA are as per the Air Service Requirements framed by the IAF.

Video: IAF's Vayu Shakti On Feb 28th

Sunday, February 21, 2010

First Serial Yak-130 Combat Trainer Handed Over To Russian Airforce

'I Am Not Fit To Be Defence Minister If I Reveal Inventory Of Armed Forces'--Antony

Well Sir, you can do that if you knew what we had in our inventory!!

Last week I've interacted with a lot of Americans, Russians, Israelis, Swedes, during Defexpo (in evening parties after the exhibition), and they have just one grudge that the Minister just doesn't take decisions, which is very important even if they are wrong decisions. Not that I endorse that totally but I definitely saw a point in what they said.

Arakkaparambil Kurian Antony, who is more bothered about his spotless mundu and shirt, not getting soiled, than modernisation of the armed forces, said he could not reveal the inventory of his armed forces otherwise he was not fit to be Defence Minister. Sir, if I may ask, are you otherwise fit to be Defence Minister?? He faints at the NDA POP (something that has never happened ever before), even health-wise he doesn't appear fit to me !!

There was a joke doing the rounds in INS Hansa at the MiG-29K induction ceremony, that probably Antony doesn't know the full form of MiG and thinks MiG stands for--'Made in Goa or Made in Gujarat' !!!

Having cancelled more deals than materialised them, the Minister talks about equipping the armed forces with the best and latest, but has been instructed not to get into dirty deals , just to keep them hanging and complete his tenure.

In Defexpo Antony said that, 'Our armed forces are ready for any eventuality and we will protect every inch of our land'. Sure Sir, but you and your armed forces can protect every inch of the country's land when your army brass is not busy grabbing land for itself and hurling allegations and counter allegations at each other in the capital's courts and Tribunals in Sukna land scam !!

The Defence Minister promotes a senior officer, who misbehaves with a lady journalist, and sends him for Command, and talks of guarding the country while is unable to guard the honour of a woman in South Block. He doesnt know what happens in South Block, right under him.

There's a famous joke in South Block that Antony has been sent to MoD, not to protect the country but to guard the furniture-tables and chairs, of South Block, which is what he is doing. Well, I can see why he has been sent the second time by 10 Janpath !! To actually guard the furniture, which are safe, but the fighter planes have been going down, including the super safe Sukhoi. When the last Sukhoi goes down there will be total 'transparency' between both the warring neighbours--transparency, which Antony so much talks about !!!

About Indo-Pak talks, the Minister said in Goa that he was not an astrologer to know what was going to happen. Indeed Sir, you are not an astrologer, but do we need clairvoyance to arrive at the outcome of these talks, which have been going on ages without any outcome.

Is the Minister even aware of the fact the ISI Headquarters has a seperate 'Kashmir Liberation Cell' in it seperately which has 80 percent of the ISI strength directed towards it. The Minister smiles a lot, especially on outstation defence coverage trips, where he makes sure the media is well looked-after and well-fed, and enquires about the same from them, but doesnt digress from his rote lines and phrases like, 'indigenisation', 'protection of the country at all costs', we want cordial relations with our neighbours' etc, but has not issued even one single RFP under the 'Make' category since 2006.

Now the MoD is revising the 'Make' category, and ofcourse how cordial Pakistan was with us, we've seen that in 26/11, where the loss to the national economy in 60 hours was far more than what we could've had in a conventional war at the border. The enemy achieved its purpose by bleeding us through a 1000 cuts. We were a butt of ridicule in front of the international community, where Israelis made fun of the NSG and said they would've completed the operation successfully in 24 hours, while we took 60 hours and lost more than 200 people!!

The Minister ensures there are adequate Kerala media houses when he does something, so that back-home he gets enough publicity in the local language, whether he gets it in the national media is secondary, something I sensed when he went to pay homage to Bhagat Singh's memorial in 2008, in Punjab, where there was more Malyalam media than national. Back then the Left was part of the Central alliance, and dont we know that Bhagat Singh was a communist, and why Congress was trying to please the Left, that time.

De-briefing After The Inaugural Flight !!

"Once the aircraft touches the carrier deck, the throttle automatically comes to full maximum, on its own", said Cdr Theo to Vice Admiral Shekhar Sinha, in his de-brief. I was there, so I heard the conversation. The aircraft did a 70 degree angle of attack at the commissioning ceremony, but is it not a 9G aircraft, as was revealed to me. This is primarily for safety, in combat missions, which enables the aircraft to come back to safety.

Why Aren't The Black Panther Aircraft Painted Black ??

Well, in that case the the Sea Harriers "White Tigers", should've been painted White...:)

An intelligent Spokesperson of the Navy-MoD (Delhi) took an intelligent bunch of journalists, who at this intelligent briefing session asked this super intelligent question at the MiG-29K briefing held at INS Hansa on Feb 18th. There was someone who wanted to know if the aircraft would be grounded till the facilities came up?

Later next day, on the day of the induction, Feb 19th, early morning (as I also reached early, so I was witness to all that was happening at the tarmac), the same journalist, belonging to a Delhi-based English channel, asked Capt S Ahuja, 'why the name Black Panthers, when there's nothing black about the planes?'

The officer replied, 'We already have White Tigers and actually there's a competition between Black Panthers and White Tigers'. I overheard the camera byte, and it was not difficult for me to understand why the officer had replied like that. Silly answer to a silly question.

Vice Admiral Pradeep Chauhan, presently COS-West Mumbai, told me in his office last April (when he was posted here as (ACNS-FCI), that why don't the journalists ask intelligent questions, which he and others would really appreciate, adding, that almost all of them ask dumb questions which sets the navy laughing. I am sure this particular question would have him appreciating our fraternity.

I am glad to have been out of this hilarious briefing session, otherwise I would've forgotton my question, a seperate briefing for which was given to me later, details of which coming up soon !!!

Return Of The Tail Hookers !!

With Full Afterburners !!!